David Stearns and Co. have finally made the deal that Brewers fans all knew was coming eventually, as Josh Hader has been traded to the San Diego Padres for LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Robert Gasser and OF Esteury Ruiz.
While the move will undoubtedly be heartbreaking for all fans of the Crew, it’s time to move on to the next one and think about what’s next for the club on the trade front.
The acquisition of Ruiz by the Brewers is going to be the key here. His inclusion in the deal gives the club yet another high-end outfield prospect who is just about fully ready for the big leagues. In fact, his presence in the organization will make this next move easier to stomach for the Brewers faithful.
Brewers rumors: What’s next for the club after trading Josh Hader?
Esteury Ruiz gives the Brewers another top outfield prospect (Wiemer, Frelick, Mitchell, Chourio, Peters, Hedbert Perez), adding to an already stacked minor league OF picture. The fact that he was included in this deal tells me that the Brewers might be more open to the idea of dealing one of the aforementioned outfielders at the deadline. They may have to in order to acquire who they want.
Josh Bell of the Washington Nationals and J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox are the two names that immediately come to mind. Both are on expiring contracts and would provide massive boosts to the big league squad as the Crew looks to march its way to a fifth-consecutive playoff berth.
As far as the Nationals go, they could desperately use some outfield prospects. While there are two outfielders in the organization’s top 10 (per MLB.com), any of Wiemer, Frelick, Mitchell or even Chourio would rank higher than the talent as things currently stand.
Something similar could be said for the Red Sox, as they only have three outfielders listed in their organization’s top 20, with all of them coming outside of the top 10.
Both Bell and Martinez would provide an instant upgrade to the offense, and it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Brewers front office aggressively pursues both of these names in the next 24 hours or so.
Whoever the Brewers acquire, David Stearns and the front office clearly have something else brewing that they’re working on. This will not be it and likely will not be the only blockbuster Milwaukee makes before the Deadline. Reports have them willing to move other veterans from the big league roster not in a sell-off, but as a way to bring in other big league players to help the team best moving forward.
The clear next move is to acquire the proper pieces to form a World Series-winning club. While the loss of Hader hurts right now, all could be made right by adding one (or even both) of Josh Bell or J.D. Martinez before the deadline.